Trekking Cat Cat Village in Sapa
Trekking through to local hill tribe villages through beautiful cascading rice terraces is one of the main draws behind Sapa exploding on the Vietnamese tourism map. Gloomy doesn’t really do justice to how bad the weather was when I rolled in to town so I posted up on a porch for some late afternoon coffee. The only other person on the patio had a GoPro sticker on his laptop and a ThinkTank camera bag on the floor next to him so I asked him if he had any recommendations on good spots to go shooting. Adam (Better off Lost), another solo traveler, was also big into photography and had been in town for a few days, not really doing much because of the weather.
A few days before, he had walked down to Cat Cat Village, a small town three kilometers south of town down a steep hillside. Home to one of the local hill tribes, the Black H’mongs, Cat Cat had transformed into a major tourist attraction in the area, mainly due to it’s close proximity to town. Adam mentioned that the elevation was lower than Sapa so it might be worth heading down to, even with the bleak outlook up high.
After paying a 40,000 vdn entrance fee ($1.89), we turned down a wet and muddy walkway and made our way through the small wooden cottages, dodging each ‘opportunity’ to buy various fabrics, carvings, and other crafts from the forceful H’mong women. And Adam was right. The weather did open up a little bit, allowing me my first glance of the renowned cascading terraces with S-shaped dykes hugging the curves of the mountains. Having missed the main harvest, the anticipated bright green fields had been transformed to dark brown, but it was still really beautiful. I was finally able to see why there was so much hype about this area.